Irish start for Tour de France: Cycling
Thursday 03 April 1997
International contestants will begin the race on the weekend of 12 July, later than usual to avoid clashing with football's World Cup finals, being staged in France in 1998.
The decision to start the 1998 Tour de France in the Republic follows years of lobbying by the Dublin government and sports fans in Ireland. Campaigning for the development dates back to the 1987 Tour de France victory of the Irish rider Stephen Roche, and the international success around the same period of his compatriot Sean Kelly.
Kelly, the 1988 Tour of Spain winner and world champion, said: "This is a wonderful achievement. It's the first time the start of the race has been off the European mainland. It is unbelievable to think they have got it over here. As a sports event the Tour is huge, and has to be seen to be believed."
Details of the Irish dimension, including the route through the country, have still to be disclosed. But the race is expected to make its exit from Ireland through Cork, which has a direct ferry link with the with French ports of Cherbourg and Le Havre.
Unfortunately for the Irish, and despite the previous world-ranking performances of Roche and Kelly, no cyclist from Ireland is likely to feature in the Tour.
Kelly added: "It would have been great for it to come here when Stephen and I were competing, but that just did not happen. It is surprising we have not got anybody competing at Tour de France level at the moment.
"It will be a huge task for Ireland to stage it."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Karim Benzema, Edinson Cavani and Gregorz Krychowiak were all linked but Wenger and Gunners fail on deadline day
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans devastated as they become only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign outfield player
David De Gea: Manchester United in bitter war of words with Real Madrid over failed transfer
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Anthony Martial fee: 'Add-on' includes Manchester United signing winning the Ballon d'Or
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...